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Last Updated:  Monday, 7 April, 2003, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Prize for Opera House designer
Joern Utzon
Joern Utzon never returned to Australia
The designer of the Sydney Opera House has won a prestigious architecture prize for his work despite having never seen the famous landmark.

Danish architect Joern Utzon won the 2003 Pritzker Architecture Prize for the Opear House's ability to encapsulate a whole country in one image.

But Mr Utzon has never seen the building in person after a furious row with the Australian Government over the design led him to quit the project in 1966.

He has since been invited to contribute to plans for its redevelopment.

The Pritzker prize carries a reward of $100,000 (64,520) which will be handed out at a ceremony in Madrid on 20 May.

The 84-year-old, who now lives in Majorca, will not collect the award himself because of ill health but will send his son Jan on his behalf.

The judges called the Sydney Opera House "one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century".

Mr Utzon became involved with designing Sydney Opera House after winning an international competition.

Sydney Opera House
But as the project went over budget and over deadline a row broke out which led to the architect returning to Denmark.

The building took more than seven years to complete, with the outside resembling Mr Utzon's original shell-like design but with the inside redesigned by local architects.

Mr Utzon's other commissions include the Bagsvaerd church near Copenhagen and the Kuwait National Assembly.

Pritzker Prize jury chairman, Lord Rothschild, noted that in addition to the Opera House, Utzon had "worked throughout his life fastidiously, brilliantly, quietly and with never a false or jarring note".

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